It’s stenciled backwards, so that drivers in front of me can read it in their rear-view mirrors.

§ December 2nd, 2013 § Filed under this week's comics § 5 Comments

(Again, despite the category I’ve filed this post under, these comics are actually from last week. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody!)

So a long time ago, back in the initial heyday of Image Comics, back when people were buying full sealed cases of The Pitt #1 and we could get a line down the block of folks just itching to purchase Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood, there was this oddball thing. It was nominally a superhero comic, I guess. There was certainly a dude in a costume, and there seemed to be a villain involved in the story. But it was all so weird and dark, and not “dark” in the “comics by people who learned the wrong lessons from Dark Knight Returns ‘dark,'” but as in creepy and moody and mysterious. It was right up my alley…

…but then I apparently went through one my periodic “purge the reading list” moods, and I dropped The Maxx after issue five or six. Not sure why, other than I needed to save money, but I kind of regretted it ever since. And somehow, despite the fact that, oh, I don’t know, manage a comic book store, I never did get around to going back and buying the back issues or trade paperback collections to complete the run.

Part of the problem was accessibility. Back issues of The Maxx have been hard to come by, at least around here, for years. Well, not the first six issues, which we’d ordered plenty of. After that, we scaled back the orders some, particularly since the Great Comics Market Crash was in full effect by that point and orders were cut on purt’near everything. As a result, issues 7 and up were in limited supply, only sporadically in stock. In addition, the Maxx TV show helped create a whole lot of fans for the series, it seemed, and to this day I think it is at least partially responsible for maintaining the back issue sales the series enjoys at our shop to this very day. At least, when we have those back issues available.

Yes, yes, I could have bought the trades. Never got around to it. Sorry!

But here we are, I’ve been given a second chance at buying the series, with improved reproduction and coloring and (ahem) a steeper price, but I intend on sticking with it this time. Here’s hoping sales allow them to finish the entire run.

Once again I jump into other people’s Twitter conversations, this time to opine upon Larfleeze, a comic about reprehensible beings acting awfully towards other deeply flawed characters, and what fun it is. It’s Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins getting to have some entertaining space adventure that’s kinda sorta tied to the Green Lantern franchise, while staying mostly its own thing and not getting too involved in the other two dozen or so GL books DC’s currently publishing. We’re also getting yet another backstory for Stargrave, which should be amusing to the longtime Legion of Super-Heroes fan.

Speaking of backstory, this issue starts to look back at Larfleeze’s origins, which make him seem even more terrible, and his own reaction to this revelation are a few more steps toward rounding out the character a bit. Who knows if this supposed history is really true at all, of course, but seeing a crack or two in Larfleeze’s wall of greed and self-centeredness makes for interesting reading.

Full disclosure: I’m Twitter-pals with this comic’s writers, Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride, which is why I picked up this book in the first place (not to slight the swell work by artist Robert Love, of course). I enjoy the idea of a short-run superhero book exploring one specific problem (in this case, an immortal superhero looking to become not-immortal…i.e. end his life), you’re in, you’re out, no set-up for a Whole New Superhero Universe, no ongoing franchise…just “here’s our idea, here’s how it plays out, The End.”

Unless of course it is a set-up for a new universe/franchise. I guess I’ll find out in a couple of issues. But the first issue is fun, with the reader’s sympathy for the hero established very solidly early on, so that you want to know how this all turns out for him. It’s all a lot more light-hearted than the premise would imply. There are a couple of chuckles to be had, honest!

I was already buying Justice League Dark, so I didn’t have to go out of my way to pick up this Swamp Thing appearance. I’ve definitely received what I wished for, a Swamp Thing more directly tied to the DC Universe, what with him discussing the evil parallel dimension (or whatever) Crime Syndicate with John Constantine, which is probably not something the me of, oh, four years ago would ever have imagined as happening. In a Justice League book, no less. It’s all goofy adventure-drama, in the middle of a crossover event I’m otherwise not reading, but I get the gist. Swamp Thing also has these massively long word balloons which always seem wrong to me, despite the ol’ restriction on Swampy’s ability to speak having been done away with at the end of Alan Moore’s first storyline on the book.

Oh, and I also felt compelled to buy the 1:25 ratio black and white variant as well as the regular cover:

…because apparently I have the word “SUCKER” stenciled on my forehead.

5 Responses to “It’s stenciled backwards, so that drivers in front of me can read it in their rear-view mirrors.”

  • snell says:

    Hmmm…maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll reveal that there’s an Earth-3 version of Swamp Thing.

  • Jer says:

    I seem to recall some big gap in between Maxx #6 and Maxx #7 – enough that it fell off a number of people’s orders at the time. A quick search of the intertoobs suggests that it was “only” a 5 month gap, but that was probably enough in ’94 to get folks to forget about a series, or decide that they were spending their money elsewhere and just leave it off their preorders.

  • Pal Cully says:

    Don’t feel too suckered, that’s a beautiful cover.

  • Bill D. says:

    I legitimately did not know DC was putting out a Larfleeze book now. I’ve grown so out of touch with the company as the New 52 has rolled on… I was a DC guy for years and years, too.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “The Maxx”

    IDW is reprinting that crap?? You can get the back issues for a buck apiece!

    “Back issues of The Maxx have been hard to come by, at least around here, for years. Well, not the first six issues”

    ah! I never bothered reading past #4 or so.

    “Black and white variant ”

    That looks decent!